COUNTY NEWS: Original map of Winnie-the-Pooh’s world may fetch £150,000

Charming ... the map was drawn by E. H. Shepard in 1926
Charming ... the map was drawn by E. H. Shepard in 1926

The original illustrated map of The Hundred Acre Wood, which featured in the opening pages of A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, is to be auctioned next month.

It has been described by Sotheby’s as “probably the most famous map in English literature”, and will come under the hammer with four further long-hidden original Pooh illustrations.

The Ashown Forest was the inspiration for the stories by Milne, who lived in Hartfield.

Drawn by E. H. Shepard in 1926, the map is being offered by Sotheby’s with an estimate of £100,000-150,000.

It introduces readers to the delightful imagination of Christopher Robin and his woodland friends. Exactly 40 years later the map played a starring role in the landmark Disney film – Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree – where it was brought to life as an animation in the film’s opening sequence.

As well as mapping the magical world of Winnie-the-Pooh the sketch also captures the unique personalities of A.A. Milne’s much-loved characters. Eeyore is depicted in his ‘rather boggy’ and ‘sad gloomy place’ with his head hanging sluggishly in the grass, while the energetic Roo bounces towards the ‘sandy pit’ where he plays.

A solitary Winnie-the-Pooh sits thoughtfully looking out over the wood to his friend, Christopher Robin, who stands with boyish arrogance looking back.

The charming childishness of Christopher Robin is marked by clumsily spelt locations, such as ‘NICE FOR PICNICKS’ and ‘100 AKER WOOD’, as well as a compass marked with points spelling out the title character’s name. Shepard’s own amusing personality seeps into the illustration, as the map is signed off with the words ‘Drawn by me and Mr Shepard helpd’.

The five original illustrations will be offered in Sotheby’s English Literature, History, Science, Children’s Books and Illustrations sale in London on July 10 with a combined estimate of £310,000-440,000.